Middle East

US using refugee camp as bargaining chip to aid terrorists: Russia

Russian and Syrian officials have warned that the United States is trying to receive aid for allied Takfiri terrorists by using refugees at Rukban near the Jordan border as a bargaining chip.

“Once again, the US demonstrates its readiness to let everyone out of Rukban in exchange for the delivery of humanitarian aid to the camp. In this way, the US side seeks to provide their militants with everything necessary at the expense of international humanitarian organizations, instead of solving the camp’s problems on their own, as required by international law from the occupier,” the Russian and Syrian Joint Coordination Committees on Repatriation of Syrian Refugees said in a joint statement.

Last month, Amnesty International called on Jordanian officials to provide urgent medical care to Rukban camp refugee in light of a possible coronavirus outbreak in the area.

Amnesty warned that a lack of basic medical care along the Syria-Jordan Rukban crossing, in the area known as ‘the berm’, is putting thousands of lives at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The one medical center remaining in the berm is simply not equipped for emergency care or specialized treatment. Pregnant women and other patients in urgent need of care have nowhere to turn to,” Lynn Maalouf, the Middle East Research Director at the human rights group, said on May 7.

“The Jordanian authorities must allow those seeking medical treatment to access facilities in Jordan, and also allow humanitarian aid and essential services to reach the area,” she pointed out.

Rukban refugee camp, described by Russian and Syrian authorities as the “death camp,” is reportedly home to some 25,000 internally-displaced Syrians, mostly women and children.

Just a handful of humanitarian aid convoys have reached the camp in recent years, the last of which was in February 2019.

In a joint statement on March 28, the interagency coordination headquarters of Russia and Syria, attributed the humanitarian crisis in Rukban refugee camp to the illegal occupation of the area by American forces.

“We believe that the American side’s reluctance to exert influence on their [allied] militants in order to ensure unhindered departure of people from the camp and safe activities of humanitarian representatives in the At-Tanf zone is a clear evidence of its intention”, the statement noted.

The headquarters stated that the US military is using Rukban as an “assembly line for training extremists.”

Last year, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) said at least eight internally displaced Syrian children had lost their lives because of freezing temperatures and the lack of medical care at the camp.

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